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THE state’s beleaguered New Generation Rollingstock trains are closer to finally making it on the rails, with key problems plaguing them fixed, the Queensland Government says.
But there’s still no date for service or any idea of how much extra design changes will cost taxpayers.
Transport Minister Jackie Trad said the trains’ braking issues had now been stabilised, issues with the sightlines from the drivers’ cab had been fixed, and the heating, ventilation and airconditioning system was now up to scratch.
“We are continuing to engage and work together with the disability sector to address concerns raised about the train’s accessibility and functionality,” she told an estimates committee.
Ms Trad has insisted the trains will be operation by the end of 2017.
But Transport and Main Roads director-general Neil Scales said he could not give an exact date yet.
Asked to detail how much extra it would cost to address design issues for disability access, Mr Scales said that amount was not known as nothing yet had been agreed to.
He said earlier changes that needed to be made to the drivers’ cab to improve driver comfort had cost a “negligible” amount”.
He said it was “difficult” to quantify the figure in the context of the $4.4 billion project.
Commenting on what a standard train would travel in testing before entering service, Mr Scales gave a figure of 500km.
But some trains did as many as 40,000km before they entered service in the industry, he said.
Figures provided show five NGR trains have already clocked between 24,420km and 5,950km each, and 10 others had done no on-track testing.
Meanwhile, Ms Trad announced Queensland Rail would open external recruitment for more drivers from next month, which was a key recommendation from the Strachan report on fixing mass crewing shortfalls.
Twenty-eight of the 200 drivers needed have so far graduated.
Ms Trad said full external recruitment would bolster the 107 others currently in training.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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